Back to the City

Anchorage 16Anchorage 6We went back to the city of Anchorage for a few days. Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, with almost half of its population concentrated there. And like all cities, it has its problems; including a high crime rate and homelessness. And Alaskans like to joke that Alaska is thirty minutes from Anchorage.Anchorage 2

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We settled in at the Golden Nugget RV Park, read my review here.

The city of Anchorage has a lot to offer, and we were intent on discovering some of its positive aspects. Starting with a visit to the Anchorage Market & Festival a fun weekend downtown market with lots of crafts and prepared food and a very diverse crowd. Next up was a stroll around the compact downtown and a visit to the sod roofed Anchorage Visitor Information Center, a beautiful log cabin structure.

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More of the Beautiful Valdez

Valdeez 4There always seems to be more of the beautiful Valdez surroundings to see and explore. We only touched the tip of the iceberg. But it was still spectacular.

Valdeez 21Valdeez 27Many of the structures of the town itself, mostly rebuilt in the late 1960’s after a huge earthquake devastated the original town, are pretty plain. In fact, the little office of the Lu-Lu Belle is one of the prettiest buildings in town. But the harbor and the surroundings more than make up for that. And that is what we focused on.Valdeez 2

One day we drove back out over the road we came in on and stopped once again at some of the beautiful waterfalls right near town. There are not many places that have this much beauty right next to the road.

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Day 10 on the Alaska Highway

Haines to Cottonwood001We spent part of this day on a hunt for a mouse. Yes, we seem to have another mouse. Yikes! We found a nest and have put out “humane” traps. And we are heading out on day 10 on the Alaska Highway.

Haines to Cottonwood003Haines to Cottonwood010Day 10 driving recap:

Road Name (s): Yukon Highway 1

Road Type: 2-lane

Road Conditions: Starts out pretty smooth with some dips, bumps and patches.  Overall not bad.

Miles Today: 84

Miles driven from Canadian border: 1838

Miles on the Alaska Highway: 1034

Driving Time: 2:15

Haines to Cottonwood015The above includes an extra 30 miles from our campground back to Haines Junction. The Haines Highway is an excellent road. Back on the Alaska Highway there are more views of the spectacular Kluane Range. Haines to Cottonwood004

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Friends in San Diego

Friends in SD 100We began the year reconnecting with “old” friends and meeting some new friends.  And we have continued to hang out with lots of friends in San Diego.

Friends in SD 13Friends in SD 16Starting out with Doug and Trish from Calgary and Tim and Becky from Oregon, who were all staying at our same campground.  We met them here last year and have since visited them at their respective homes up north.  We also just saw them in Yuma last month.  It is so interesting  to get to know folks this way!

Friends in SD 32Amongst other things, we shared a couple of meals with them.  They are all great people and lots of fun.

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Embracing San Diego

San Diego 2015 97The transition from the peace and quiet of natural spaces to the hustle and bustle of big cities can be jarring. But we are embracing San Diego and much of what it has to offer. Including some beautiful natural spaces.San Diego 2015 6

San Diego 2015 95We’re in a prime location – one of the campgrounds we stayed in last year. Mission Bay RV Resort is a fairly average private RV park in an awesome location by the water.  Check out my review of the park here.

The location is great for Angel too. We’ve been taking her for lots of walks on the grass by the water.  One of our typical walks is about a mile long and she is walking that distance easily.

Hector continues to work on his photography portfolio and I’ve begun doing research on photography websites, so I think we can officially say we’re now both working on the road.

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A Japanese Celebration of Light

4500231.banner-mainOur stay in Vancouver coincided with the Honda Celebration of Light, the largest offshore fireworks competition in the world.  Wow, a summer fireworks show sounded like something that we should definitely check out.Celebration of Light  002

This was the 24th consecutive year that Vancouver hosted this competition.  Every year three different countries compete.  And this year the three countries were the United States, France and Japan.  We’d missed the United States display but both France and Japan were competing while we were in town.

Celebration of Light  004Celebration of Light  007So we went into research mode and found that Japan’s show had good seats available; we opted for bleacher seating instead of free viewing from the beach to guarantee a good spot for tripod photography.  And I was able to get seats by the aisle through some messing around on the website.

This event draws lots of tourists as well as locals; crowds are estimated to be between 300,000-400,000!  So the parking situation was bound to be tough, especially since several streets were closing prior to the show.  Although we could take the Skytrain, we figured there would be crowds trying to get on after the show.  So after consultations with a few locals, we planned a driving and cycling combination so we could park away from the event.Celebration of Light  006

The day of the show we parked a few miles from the main event area near the bicycle path along the seawall, rode our bikes over to a free bike valet parking provided just for the event and walked about a quarter mile to the bleachers.  Easy!

The competition is held over a two-week period, with each country’s representative company performing a twenty-five minute fireworks display set to music on one night. The fireworks are set up on a huge barge just across from the West End neighborhood of Vancouver.

Celebration of Light  003The beach area was packed, there was music and tons of food trucks. Also hundreds of boats all around the fireworks barge.  Definitely a happening.  In the bleacher seat area, we had our own bar and our own port-a-potties.  So classy 🙂

Before the show, we noticed several young Japanese ladies in traditional geisha attire.

Akayira Fireworks was representing Japan.  The Japanese anthem played right before the display.  A real Japanese celebration of light.Celebration of Light  048 Continue reading

Vancouver

Vancouver  105Vancouver  002Once again we took Island Girl boating.  This time crossing from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island to the city of Vancouver.  It is always so interesting to see how they pack all these vehicles in so tight on these giant ships.

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Vancouver  106Vancouver  107As we approached the city of Vancouver on the ferry, we were greeted by skyscrapers in the foreground and Mount Baker in the background.

The ferry operations in these parts are elaborate affairs with huge terminals and many ships and routes.

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A Southern California Weekend Trip with Brother Gus

gus disney  133Yes, we’ve been quite busy here in San Diego, and five weeks have passed rather quickly. And what else did we do the rest of our time on the coast of San Diego?  Well, for starters, Hector’s brother Gus joined us for a fun-filled long weekend.  Hector had been hoping that Gus could join us here in Southern California, so we were really excited about his visit. Continue reading

Kouchibouguac National Park…Swat!

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What's that buzzing sound?

What’s that buzzing sound?

What can I say about Kouchibouguac National Park (The Koosh).  It’s very pretty, by a lovely river, by some great barrier islands, with long isolated beaches, a few hiking trails and miles of  biking trails.

But, OMG, the mosquitoes!  We can’t say we’d not been warned, but it’s difficult to realize the amount of mosquitoes there until you experience it.

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